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Soft Tissue Mobilization Tips

Physiotherapist Can Reduce Joint Stiffness!

Physiotherapist Can Reduce Joint Stiffness!

Joint stiffness is a feeling that the movement of a particular joint is getting restricted. The stiffness is generally accompanied by pain and occurs mainly due to arthritis or as a result of an injury to joint. Appropriate and regular exercises can help reduce stiffness and pain, increase flexibility, improve endurance, develop muscle strength and keep bone and cartilage in healthy condition.

What physiotherapy is all about? How it can be helpful in treating joint stiffness?
One of the allied health professions is physiotherapy, which by using mechanical force and movements, exercise therapy and electrotherapy, acts as a remedy for impairments and promotes a person’s mobility and joint function. The kind of physical therapy treatment which people receive for their joint stiffness mainly depends on the exact cause for the condition and other symptoms such as pain and inflammation.

Procedure for treating joint stiffness through physiotherapy-

  1. When you go for physiotherapy, the first thing a physical therapist would do is to ask you about the exact condition with respect to the symptoms, which you might be experiencing along with the joint stiffness. You should clearly state to the physiotherapist since when have you been experiencing stiffness. The very next thing which a therapist would ask is, your medical history if you have been suffering from arthritis.
  2. After all the preliminary diagnosis through the question-answer session, the physiotherapist would conduct a thorough physical examination and look to evaluate the joint and other structures associated with it to find out what exactly is causing joint stiffness and other symptoms like, pain, inflammation etc.

Now, after the completion of his questioning and physical examination, the comprehensive physical therapy treatment plan would be prepared as per the exact of your stiffness, symptoms and your needs.

Treatment options-
First, by determining the exact cause of joint pain and then treating it with highly effective therapies, physiotherapy acts as a preventive mechanism for reducing joint stiffness and the pain associated with it.
The treatment options which physiotherapists generally go for are as follows:

  • Manual therapy: this manual therapy generally involves soft tissue and joint mobilization to provide relief from joint restriction and muscle tension.
  • Soft tissue massage: soft tissue massage involves therapists only using their hands o reduce back muscle tension and restore mobility to stiff joints, as an effort to allow the patient more flexibility.
  • Acupuncture: the physical therapy of acupuncture helps in restoring the balance of energy in the body and thus provides relief from pain, inflammation and proceeds with the healing process. This is done through single-use fine needles, which are used at different ‘trigger’ points on the body, as per your symptoms, thus helping to stimulate the flow of energy.
  • Ultrasoundwhile conducting an ultrasound, physiotherapist uses a transducer to send a stream of high-frequency sound waves into one’s body. These waves bounce off one’s organs, muscles, and tissues.
  • Exercises: physiotherapist would instruct you to do some stretching exercises where you would require moving your limbs without support and muscle strengthening exercises which would make you kneel, stand and sit to maintain your own balance.
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Lower Back Pain - Do I Need Physical Therapy?

Lower Back Pain - Do I Need Physical Therapy?

Lower back pain is fast becoming an epidemic not just among elderly, but across all age groups. Primary causes of back pain are quite a few including lumbar hernia, disc degenerative disease (DDD), spondylosis etc., but the symptoms are usually the same excruciating pain in the lower region of the spine, followed by stiffness. Since back pain is caused due to a number of spinal problems, it manifests differently in different patients. The pain may be dull, burning or sharp. It could also be felt at a single point or over a broad area and could be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness or even shooting pain in one or both legs.

Back pain can also be differentiated according to time period:

  1. Acute: Pain lasts for less than three months.
  2. Recurrent: Acute symptoms reoccur over time.
  3. Chronic: Pain lasts longer than three months.

Sometimes symptoms resolve on their own, but in many cases conservative treatment, such as physiotherapy, which often work better than surgery, becomes essential. Alternate therapies like surgery, acupressure, acupuncture as well as yoga and Ayurveda also help.

Physiotherapy - Exercises that work
Since the reason for low back pain is not always same, a patient’s treatment too should be tailored for his specific symptoms and condition. This is what the physiotherapist will do design an exercise plan based on the patient’s specific problem and its cause.


Physiotherapy treatments may include:

  1. Manual therapy, which includes direct spinal manipulation aimed at improving the mobility of joints and soft tissues
  2. Strengthening and flexibility exercises
  3. Education about what do and what not to do
  4. Training for proper sleeping positions, lifting, bending, and sitting as well as for working at home and at work
  5. Use of heat/cold treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain

Physiotherapy exercises help support the back and strengthen muscles so that the spine is cushioned properly. This is why physiotherapy is relevant as a treatment for backache. Treatments like traction help in lengthening the spine and relieving compression of nerves that cause sciatica, radiating pain into legs largely due to lumbar herniation. If back pain is extreme, a patient will require physical therapy along with medication, which will help in managing pain and bringing inflammation down. But in the long term, being physically active, going for walks, sitting properly and maintaining a good posture will help the most. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a physiotherapist.

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Physiotherapy For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Physiotherapy For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on your median nerve as it runs through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. Symptoms include numbness, pins and needles, and pain (particularly at night). Anything that causes swelling inside the wrist can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, including repetitive hand movements, pregnancy and arthritis.

Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms begin when the pressure inside the tunnel becomes too high. This results in your median nerve becoming compressed as it passes through the small tunnel. 

The carpal tunnel pressure increase occurs when either of two things happens:

  1. The tunnel space decreases, such as when the wrist swells eg after a traumatic injury, partial subluxation of the carpal bones or fracture or tenosynovitis.
  2. When the contents of the tunnel (median nerve, blood vessels and tendons) enlarge. 
  3. Both of these situations increase the pressure on the nerve, leading to the carpal tunnel symptoms.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) sufferers will usually experience the following symptoms in their hand or fingers:

  1. hand pain or aching
  2. pins and needles
  3. numbness esp at night of with wrist flexing
  4. burning
  5. weakness or cramping
  6. perceived swelling

The symptoms are usually worse at night and your grip will weaken as the condition progresses. Eventually you will notice muscle atrophy of the thenar (thumb) muscles and loss of hand function or clumsiness. If this sounds like you, suspect carpal tunnel syndrome.

Physical Therapy Treatment

  1. Gliding Exercises: Moving your fingers in a specified pattern of exercises may help your tendons and nerves glide more smoothly through your carpal tunnel. While there’s some evidence that gliding exercises can help relieve symptoms when used alone, these exercises appear to work better in combination with other treatments -such as splinting.
  2. Graston Technique/Manual Therapy: The Graston Technique incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that effect normal function. Manual therapy techniques such as myofascial release or Active Release Technique are hands-on techniques that release tight tendons and musculature.
  3. Ultrasound: Deep, pulsed ultrasound directed at the carpal tunnel can reduce pain and numbness, and improve hand strength. Continuous superficial ultrasound doesn’t help.
  4. Traction: Some people obtain relief from carpal tunnel symptoms by using a hand traction device, called C-Trac. You might try this device, which can be purchased for home use, if other conservative treatment options have failed.
  5. Splints: Splints (braces) are the most commonly used nonsurgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Splints that immobilize the wrist in a neutral (unbent) position are most likely to relieve discomfort. An unbent wrist maximizes the size of the carpal tunnel, which reduces pressure on the median nerve, relieving your symptoms. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a physiotherapist.
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